January 16th, 2008
03:37 PM ET
15 years ago

Crowley: Clinton's latest attack on Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/16/art.clinton1.ap.jpg
caption="Clinton is taking aim at Obama’s management ability."]
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) - The Clinton campaign continued its new line of attack on Barack Obama Wednesday, based on his recent campaign trail admissions that he isn't a details-oriented "chief operating officer."

At an event in Las Vegas, Hillary Clinton warned a group of Nevada voters that if a president does not manage the government bureacracy then "it will manage you."

Obama has made several recent statements highlighting his inexperience in running a bureaucracy, and his lack of organizational skills.

"I ask my staff never to hand me paper until two seconds before I need it, because I will lose it," he said in the Democratic debate Tuesday night. "And my desk in my office doesn't look good. I've got to have somebody around me who is keeping track of that stuff.”

The Illinois senator added that those qualities were not as important in a president as the ability to bring Americans together to make progress on issues stymied for years by partisan struggles.

Clinton challenged Obama's view of the role of a president in last night's debate, and her campaign continues to push the issue in e-mails.

In her comments today, she argued that the Bush era through a "mismanaged war" and the failure to react quickly to Hurricane Katrina has proved that "government by advisor" doesnt work. The country needs, said Clinton, "a hands-on manager."

There is nothing in Clinton's resume suggesting experience in managing a big bureaucracy. Her time heading the Clinton administration's health care reform effort was marked by criticism of her hands-on management style.

The Obama campaign immediately fought back. “Hillary Clinton may believe this is a race for who would make the best Chief of Staff, but Barack Obama believes this country is looking for a president who has the leadership, vision and ability to bring people of differing views together around a common agenda for change,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement.

The New York senator's remarks Wednesday came in a roundtable discussion on the 25-year-battle over using a site in Nevada's Yucca Mountain as a repository for nuclear waste. Clinton promised Nevada voters that as president, she will take the Yucca issue off the table "once and for all."

–CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Nevada
soundoff (367 Responses)
  1. Tia

    You people really need to leave Sen Hillary alone, How dare you talk like that about her, most of you out there really don't even have respect for yourself. As a supporter to Obama neither Hillary show them some respect, Shame on you people. Why can you all try to meke peace instead of talking that dirty about others.

    January 16, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  2. s.positive

    After last night, is was clear to the smart ones in America who the next norminee is and it is clearly not the one who had lived in it before...

    January 16, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  3. Angela, TX

    The point of having a highly functional, highly responsible job is having the ability to bring people together to new and exciting ideas. You do not reach the point of having those jobs or appointments without having those abilities. Once you reach that point, you have other people who handle your filing, ordering, appointment books, BlackBerry and calendar management and phone answering functions as well as a multitude of other tasks. Once you reach the level of President, it would be my educated guess that you would reach far beyond what any of us knows, into a level of trusting a well appointed staff to handle these tasks for us. There are trained people out there who do these filing, appointment making and reminding jobs very, very well. The President has not trained for those jobs all of his life and should not be expected to have those particular skills. God forbid he should be delayed for an important meeting with State Leaders or peoples from our own country in an attempt to resolve important American or Foreign issues so he can find some paper or the other or straighten his desk. He is not trying out for Martha Stewart, but rather running for the President of the United States of America.

    January 16, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  4. Quentin

    WhatHas Hillary led on, HillaryCare,Oh that failed. And so will the dems if they nominate her and all of her "BAGSS"

    January 16, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  5. Sean McM

    Clinton is so right and clear about the operation of the ADMINISTRATIVE/OPERATIONS of the U.S. While not coming across as a micro-manager, she surely does make it clear accountability and oversight will be a hallmark of her administration. This is one of the critical areas of neghlect by Bush...so we now are ingesting poison in our food imports, or kids are teething the poison off their toys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And american idol rock star Obama chuckles as he states "I ask my staff never to hand me paper until two seconds before I need it, because I will lose it," Bull S**t!
    If this isn't illustrative of his arrogance in thinking he can run a popularity and likeability contest to ascend to the "throne", I do not know what is!
    No, Mr. Obama, we do not want a President who has to be rescued moment by moment...Like an appealing dream of a luxury beach-front home, look again...it is built on stilts in the sand.....vulnerable and short lived.

    Not stated by Clinton, but certainly clear to all of us who watch Congressional hearings on C-Span ( Dept of Justice, FDA on our using carbon monoxide to our meat and fish to cover up the look of otherwise microbial decaying processes, etc)
    Bush has stacked the deck in the administrative staff. They have been chosen from right wing 2nd rate colleges, and are retained for their blind allegiance in protecting their superiors.

    So the incoming President has a padded cadre of upper level bureaucrats they now have civil service protection. Only Clinton seems to understand what is ahead for the CEO of our country, yes from DAY 1!!!

    January 16, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  6. Joe, SoCal

    Candy Crowley, thanks for taking a fun Obama statement (where he was taking a jab at himself) and turning it into news story for Hillary.

    When you write : "Obama has made several recent statements highlighting his inexperience in running a bureaucracy, and his lack of organizational skills," you have to back that up. This is journalism at its worst. Where is your support?

    January 16, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  7. BJJ

    If clinton is the "hands on manager", she donot have supposed to take the support of her husband "fairy tale story".

    January 16, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  8. gman

    Since Clinton didn’t get the endorsement of the union…she’s willing to support a legal challenge to suppress your vote. Wake up people….if she’s willing to do it now….what else is she willing to do to get elected. I don’t want to see her get the nomination because she has too much baggage. Half of the country is against her from the start. And the Republicans will spend the majority of their time trying to start investigations into whatever. I just want a fresh start with someone positive. Obama takes hits because of inexperience….but the fact is he has held an elected office longer than Hillary. He’s been in the trenches fighting for civil rights and labor unions. He got my vote and if Hillary wins the nomination…I won’t vote in the General Election.

    January 16, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  9. Jr., California

    Hey Hillary! Where'd you get 35 years of experience !?!? Someone out there in the Blogosphere please answer. I really want to know.

    January 16, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. Kim, Dallas, TX

    Gee, didn't take HIllary long at all to get the knives back out. She will manipulate anything to try to gain votes. I have a friend who runs a multimillion dollar company and he has no organizational skills. He is a visionary and surrounds himself with people who he can trust to carry out the details of the organization. People will buy into this though, as not many understand the dynamics of running large organizations. I watched the dabate last night and it was so refreshing to not have all of the nastiness. I guess I was sadly mistaken thinking Hillary could refrain from that for too long.

    January 16, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  11. sue03

    I am so irritated by the major media casting the Democratic Party nominating process as being down to just Sens. Clinton and Obama, that I am beginning to seriously consider changing my preferred candidate for our Feb. 5 primary in California. While I was leaning toward Sen. Obama, I am seriously thinking of switching my vote to John Edwards.

    Dear Media: Please bring Sen. Edwards into your analysis instead of writing him off! I need more information to help me choose between Sen. Obama and former Sen. Edwards. Despite being a woman, I don't feel Sen. Clinton represents my beliefs as well as these two men. Perhaps in the future a different woman will run who is closer to my beliefs, and I will then proudly vote for a woman for president when I think that particular woman is the best choice. Sen. Clinton is too hawkish on foreign policy for me, and I am not impressed with her advisor, Richard Holbrooke.

    January 16, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  12. Bob, Florida - RFO

    In 1974, at age 19, earned her B.A. in political science, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Denver in 1975, she obtained her Master's Degree in political science from the University of Notre Dame.

    First worked in the State Department in 1977, during the Carter administration, as an intern in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    In 1981, at the age of 26, she received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the Graduate School of International Studies at Denver

    Academic Career:
    Stanford University as an Assistant Professor in Political Science (1981–1987).
    Granted tenure and promoted, first to Associate Professor (1987–1993)
    Provost, the chief budget and academic officer of the university (1993–1999)
    First female, first minority, and youngest Provost at Stanford
    Senior Fellow of the Institute for International Studies,
    Sspecialist on the former Soviet Union
    Responsible for managing the Standford University's multi-billion dollar budget.

    Non-Elected Political Career:
    January 15, 2001, to become National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush.

    Served as Special Assistant to the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    National Security Advisor (2001–2005)

    Secretary of State (2005–present)

    Help us Condi – help us please!

    Yes we will!

    What about GOP Candidate & Condoleezza Rice '08!

    January 16, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  13. CK, Arlington, VA

    It is very telling that Hillary has never run anything.......THIS WOMAN HAS ABSOLUTELY NO EXECUTIVE EXPERIENCE! Micromanager....indeed!!!

    35 years of experience.....yeah, right. 35 years of lying, smears, corruption maybe.

    January 16, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  14. JACK, NY, NY

    I don't understand about obama supporters and their reasons. Obama is honest and he inspires. He can unite america blah blah blah. All these shoud be worried if they will afford thier home if they own one. They should worry about their jobs if they have or will be finishing school to get one. They are all dreamers talking crap. Please don't be so stupid. When economy is gone down the tube then all this inspiration means crap. America needs job creation, decline in foreclosure. Inspiration means something only if there is opportunity. For opportunity you need doer not talker.

    January 16, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  15. mike

    Let us be honest here... Obama is alright. His speaking style is great but there is NO substance. We voted Bush in (well that is a matter of opinion) because we thought that he was "righteous" and "common" and look what we got? My point is this: When we keep voting in people that have the "talk" but don't "walk the walk" we get FLUFF. Ultimately hurting the economy.

    Hillary Clinton – Is smart. Period. True she is rough and maybe cold hearted...but SHE IS SMART and people fear her... She has great ideas and plans... I dare any of you to go to her website look at her plans and then argue that they would hurt the economy?

    We need a CEO. Hillary is the USA's Savior. Period.

    January 16, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  16. Tia

    You people really need to leave Senator Hillary alone, How dare anyone of you out there talk dirty like that about her, I bet some of you don't even know what are you talking about. But anyway for Senator Obama nothing again you at all I just don't trust your experience and also have a feeling if you do elected we're in deep trouble, maybe after having more knowledge about what really going around you in the future you'll get my vote, now I as a black africain I'll vote all the way for Hillary not for Obama or I'll rather turn to a republicain instead of voting for Obama.

    January 16, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  17. Jos

    Geesh, does Hillary think being a president of a country is like being a president of an NGO where you can do everything by yourself? Hillary, I am worried that with that type of leadership America is becoming a dictatorship.

    January 16, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  18. Joe, SoCal

    Another thing: Candy, you write that Obama has shown he "lacks organizational skils." There's only one small problem there..


    I mean, this is an inane editorial comment in a news piece. You need to go back to journalism school.

    January 16, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  19. Tia

    You people really need to leave Sen Hillary alone, How dare you talk like that about her, most of you out there really don't even have respect for yourself. As a supporter to Obama neither Hillary show them some respect, Shame on you people. Why can you all try to make peace instead of talking that dirty about others.

    January 16, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  20. Viktoriya

    Dear Candy Crowley, are we talking about the same debate?
    Because as much as you are trying to use negative wording to describe Sen. Hillary Clinton performance it is not working well.
    Hillary didn’t attack Obama, she was answering questions with understanding of deep complicated issues. Obama was bumbling and grumbling. He is not good on debates. He is making jocks, that media immediately call – style. What kind of style is that? Are we choosing president or stylish guy for magazine cover?
    Please, Senior Political Correspondent, report facts.

    January 16, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  21. Jeff Sacramento, CA

    CNN get real!!

    "Obama has made several recent statements highlighting his inexperience in running a bureaucracy, and his lack of organizational skills"

    How could an answer to one question in a debate equate to "several Statements"?


    I know CNN wants to increase viewer/readership during this election, but American's aren't stupid. If we keep reading and hearing these horribly skewed comments, WE WILL TUNE OUT!

    Stop making the news and just report it!!

    January 16, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  22. Bimmer

    Obama's confession about his poor organizational skills and losing papers unless handed in two second before he needs it explain why he is so great when he gives speeches but seems unprepared in the debate.

    In each deabte, he is being beaten by Clinton on substance. He scores a point here and there for style.

    He will be a good motivational speaker, perhaps for Annex Learning but a questionable choice for the Presidency of the most powerful nation on earth.

    January 16, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  23. JAM

    Of course Obama can bring this country together, espcecially with supporters like Jackson and Sharpton. I am sure he will find nice cozy places for them in his administration. Can anyone say Secretary of State Al Sharpton? Think about it!

    No, I am not a Republican or a Clinton supporter.

    January 16, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  24. Tim Calhoun '08, Moreno Valley, CA

    George W. Bush has done more to dangerously alter the function of the presidency than perhaps any other president in history. It's been obvious from day one that his goal for the presidency is to make it a position with absolute, unilateral power. And he's made these changes so slyly that most of the American public has no clue what he's done and how it could potentially affect future administrations if someone with his same lack of conscience and moral compass is ever allowed in the White House again. Nothing Hillary Clinton has said suggests she would do a thing to reverse the apparent benevolent dictatorship doctrine of the Bush administration.

    Anyone notice that Hillary derided Bush's "politics of fear" in the debate last night...yet hammered home the idea that a president must be prepared for a terrorist attack on day one?

    January 16, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  25. nano

    A leader is one with vision and good judgement. Obama is a leader as proved in his legislative success and organising in Illinois with immesurable success. He is visionary and has judgement that cant be compared to any other candidate. For a very short period of time, he managed to create a winning team that is now challenging Hillary's machine aged over 16yrs, which includes ex president and almost the whole of DNC. This is what a leader like Barack is compared to a manager Hillary;

    Managers and Leaders are not the same. Hillary is by her own admission a manager. Obama is a LEADER. This country needs a leader, someone who can bring us back together.
    Manager vs. Leader:
    A manager takes care of where you are; a leader takes you to a new place.
    A manager deals with complexity; a leader deals with uncertainty.
    A manager is concerned with finding the facts; a leader makes decisions.
    A manager is concerned with doing things right; a leader is concerned with doing the right things. A manager’s critical concern is efficiency; a leader focuses on effectiveness.
    A manager creates policies; a leader establishes principles.
    A manager sees and hears what is going on; a leader hears when there is no sound and sees when there is no light.
    A manager finds answers and solutions; a leader formulates the questions and identifies the problems.

    January 16, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15